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After getting multiple estimates to re-roof our home, I hired Bobby Shoemake Welding and Roofing, Latexo (Houston County), TX.  There were many promises made by Bobby directly to me concerning when the job would start, who would actually do the work, written warranties, etc..  As it turned out, none of these promises were true.

Materials arrived and a crew of ‘English is their second language’ men began the work.  Because of our complex roof line and his personal experience with this metal product, Bobby had promised HE would be the only person installing our roof.  He never showed up to work or supervise the job.  Since I wanted the job done and had no knowledge of this crew’s lack of experience, I didn’t halt the work.   My mistake!!  After looking at the new roof for 2 weeks, I can see this crew didn’t know how to install a metal roof, made ridiculous, unsightly shortcuts and butchered the job.

Also, after multiple claims from Bobby Shoemake that they ran short on trim and he has ordered more, the job remains unfinished.  Trim has not been installed on the front/east part of the house or on the west end of the attached carport.  Bobby promised two weeks ago it would be finished to my satisfaction ‘within a few days’.  It hasn’t happened.  After multiple requests, I still have no written warranty for workmanship or materials.

At this point, I’d be shocked if Bobby Shoemake made good on his promises or finish the job.  It seems completely ignorant not to invest an hour of time and a few strips of trim to finish in hopes of having a satisfied customer.  I’m always surprised at the total moronic stupidity of some people/companies of the benefit of positive word-of-mouth advertising.

My next step is posting in multiple places online my opinion of Bobby Shoemake, his lies, his shoddy workmanship and non-existent ethics.  Until now, he has had no web presence.  I’m resolving that in hopes of informing his prospective customers what to expect from this dishonest roofer.  Fortunately for me, I have personal access to a great number of his local potential customers.  I also know how the court system works and have no fear of it.  I vow to hit him where it hurts most….. his pocket.

Hey Bobby Shoemake, you’ve jacked with the wrong person!




As of late, I’ve done no shirt making, gardening, canning or cleaning and little cooking or quilt piecing. I feel worthless.

I don’t know what’s happened to my energy. I generally want to accomplish something each day or work toward a big goal. Lately, I’ve had no spark; no ambition. I don’t know if it’s the hot August weather or if my thyroid medication needs to be increased. About every two years, my meds need adjusting and I suspect I’m due. I really hate looking back on my day/week’s accomplishments and seeing nothing!

Charro Beans, Navy Beans, Mexican Chicken

Charro Beans, Navy Beans, Mexican Chicken

With my last bit of oomph, early last week I did some canning. I canned another batch of Mexican Charro Beans, a batch of Mexican Flavored Chicken and a batch of Navy Bean Soup. Jacob will be visiting this weekend and I plan to use a jar or two of the chicken to make enchiladas accompanied with charro beans. I hope it’s good. I have plans the next time chicken is on sale to purchase lots and can different flavored cooked chicken to use in different recipes. Also, when I canned the navy beans, I included a jar of cubed ham. I’ve read on the Net that ham alone cans well. I know it doesn’t freeze worth a flip so canning would be an excellent option. We tend to purchase Smithfield hams often and it would be a real bonus if we could can some to avoid getting sick of eating it all up (whether we want to or not). I’m hoping it maintains its juicy pork flavor. Small jars would be so handy to include in omelets, potato soup, beans, ham salad, grilled ham-n-cheese sandwiches, etc.

I’m still waiting for the roofer to return and install two pieces of trim. If he doesn’t return in the next few days, my next blog post will voice my feelings….LOUDLY!

Have a great weekend while trying to stay cool. If we had a pool, I’d be in it!


New roof - almost done

New roof – almost done

What happened to my peaceful, quiet, predictable life?

Roofers arrived a week ago and continue to bang, pound, yell, cuss, etc. starting VERY early each morning.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t sleep through it and since I do my best sleeping in the morning, I’m walking around sleep deprived and emotionally spent.  If things go according to plan, the job SHOULD be done today.  I certainly hope so!

Since tomato canning has ended, I’ve spent time this week thinking about pressure canning.  With thoughts of making meal preparation easier, I’m planning to can ingredients to include in my own recipes and new ones.  I love this adventure and the ease of taking a jar of fresh food (without chemicals or additives), heating it and eating!  Nothing commercially canned comes close to the flavor of home canned foods.

Black-n-white gingham seersucker

Black-n-white gingham seersucker

This week, I prepared Mexican Charro Beans (using 2 lbs. of dry pintos) and pressure canned 7 quart jars.  I only had to partially cook them before putting into jars and pressure canning.  They smelled terrific during the process and we plan to try a jar this weekend.  I made up the recipe so I hope it’s good.

Next, I plan to can some flavored boneless chicken.  It will be so handy to use for making enchiladas, tacos, chicken spaghetti, chicken salad, etc. and will drastically cut meal prep time.

I only did a little sewing this week and made this black and white baby gingham seersucker (phew!) shirt for Jacob.  It has a shark collar and the inner yoke, collar stand (inside and out) and backside of collar are made of batik from my stash.  The pocket and outside yoke are cut on the bias for interest.  Though it’s near impossible to photograph, it turned out nice and should offer him years of wear.

For the next sewing project, I’ve begun developing and altering a pattern for a casual shirt with a very different (not so classic) construction.  If I don’t give up, it should be ready for a first fitting soon.  Fingers are crossed.

We’re enjoying a visit from Jacob this weekend so there’s joking, laughing and good eating all around.  Here’s hoping your weekend is equally as joyous.


UPDATE:  I opened a jar of Charro Beans to serve with our BBQ pork rib dinner.  OH MY STARS!!!  I’ve eaten Charro Beans at darned near every Mexican restaurant I’ve ever visited, and (not to pat myself on the back) these are the best I’ve EVER tasted.  Both Bob and Jake loved them and want me to can lots more.

Brown/cream seersucker

Brown/cream seersucker

…I’m tickled my son is well dressed with shirts that fit beautifully and he’s proud to wear. 

He is visiting with us this weekend and I presented him the three latest shirts.  He mentioned he now wears nothing but mom-made shirts to work.  He’s demoted his purchased knit shirts to weekend wear until I make enough casual ones to fill the bill.  He admitted his first choice for weekend wear is also mom-made shirts.  I’m so glad he acquired another this visit.  He certainly knows how to push my buttons and encourage me to make more.  At this point, I could construct them in my sleep!

Shirt #11 is brown stripes on cream colored seersucker with rounded button-down collar, horizontal cut pocket, yoke and collar accented with a paisley inner collar band.  It has a rounded shirt tail hem and antique mother-of-pearl buttons.

In the stash, there is currently fabric for making 5 more office shirts and several casual ones.  I’ll continue to make them until Jake tells me to stop or I get sick of the process.

This week, I decided I want to try my hand at making a blazer for Jacob to wear to some of the meetings he attends.  I’ve selected a medium weight midnight blue denim for a casual but dressy look.  I hope it will look nice over jeans for casual wear or khaki, gray, black or blue slacks for a dressier look  After ordering and receiving all the supplies and fabrics (denim, lining, interfacing, sleeve heads and shoulder pads) I’m ready to study several purchased patterns for hints, tricks, techniques and instructions in hopes of a successful endeavor.  Thus far and sadly, I’ve found little help in searching the Net.  Guess I’ll just figure it out or make a ‘wadder’.

Tomato production continues and I’ve canned 7 more pints this week.  Each evening, I persevere constructing units to add to the Urban Renewal quilt.  It’s an extreme labor-intensive project and a good test of patience.

Yes, life is simple here on our hill.  We like it that way!


Same o’, same o’ going on around here this week.Gecko shirt  I continue making shirts.

This one is a gecko and pebbles print Jake picked out several years ago.  He’s always been partial to gecko prints.  Since he mentioned wanting more weekend/casual shirts, I decided to make this one.

This shirt features an all over print (no contrasting fabric), rounded collar and straight, vented hem.  The buttons are antique mother-of-pearl I purchased a couple of decades ago.  I bought the buttons by-the-pound and have a Tupperware container full.  They are truly wonderful; unlike any made today.

The more I look at this shirt, the more I think it would be perfect if one wanted to hide in a red ant mound.  Camo!

I don’t know why it seems these casual shirts are much easier to assemble than the office shirts… it’s the same pattern!  The only difference is a straight vented vs. a rounded, shirt-tail hem.  Both take equal effort.

I’m glad to have the ‘break’ in making office wear.  I do enjoy patterned, colorful fabric and plan to make several more ‘fun’ shirts.

Next up is an office shirt made with brown/cream stripped seersucker.  It’s cut out, the mother-of-pearl buttons are selected and it’s ready to sew.

I was able to can 6 more pints of tomatoes and the kitchen double windowsill is full of more.  Tomorrow morning I will go out and pick even more.  It will be time to can again in a day or two.  Looking forward to it.


Hope all U.S. citizens enjoyed their long Independence Day weekend.  It felt liSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESke a mini vacation here and I loved it.  Bob cooked 3 whole chickens and a rack of baby back ribs on the smoker.  I made potato salad and fresh bread to include in our feast.  Much of the smoked meat will be frozen to use in recipes later.

After watching a few modern TV shows and noticing how popular men’s gingham shirts are, I decided a style-conscious guy can’t have too many and in a variety of colors.  I dug in my fabric stash and found a red 1/4″ gingham remnant.  There wasn’t much but upon laying out the pattern, I found with using contrasting fabric for the inside yoke, collar underside and collar bands, I could barely make the shirt if tuck-in tails were eliminated.

Upon checking with Jacob to see if he would wear a non-tuck-in shirt, he said, “Yes!” so I proceeded to make it.

After cutting out the shirt, there was only a 4″ square of fabric remaining …. not enough to replace any piece of the shirt if an error was made.  I rarely mess up while making shirts but I figured it might happen on this particular one.  Thankfully, it didn’t!

This shirt features a rounded, button-down collar and the outside yoke and pocket cut on the bias.  I think it turned out nice.  When Jacob first saw it, he exclaimed, “Picnic shirt!” and tried it on.  It fit perfectly and he took it home.  He messaged yesterday that he had worn the shirt over the weekend and he loves it.  My fear of it being too short were eliminated and I was happy to note he likes this ‘Cafe Camo’ shirt.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Since deciding multiple gingham shirts should be in a well-dressed man’s closet (and finding an awesome sale), I ordered and received blue, hunter green and tiny black seersucker gingham fabric.  I cut into the blue immediately.

I received an ample amount of fabric which opened more possibilities for cutting the pattern.  This shirt includes a bias panel on the right side, a bias yoke and lining, contrasting collar band and pocket accent.  The collar is narrowed and shortened for a ‘shark collar’ look.  I hope he likes it.

Our tomato garden has continued to flourish.  Since we have more fresh tomatoes than we can eat (though we try REALLY hard!), I’ve decided instead of letting them rot, I’d can them.

Our tomatoes are so flavorful.  They are 100% organic (REALLY!) and absolutely no chemicals were used whatsoever in the garden.  We are fortunate there are much fewer bugs to harm the plants this year.  Praises go to late frosts!  The only fertilizer we used was compost we produced ourselves.

I love cooking with fresh canned tomatoes and when I find them to purchase, I can up to 50 quarts per year.  Thus far, I haven’t found any in our area so I’m hording the ones we have.

This was a tiny canning project (2 quarts and 1 pint) but I’ll appreciate theseSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES jars when I use them in our favorite recipes (Mammie noodles, gumbo, spaghetti, etc.).  As more of our tomatoes ripen or if I’m fortunate enough to find some to purchase, I’ll can more.





Been working more on Urban Renewal SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESthis week and she grows a little larger each day.  I’ve finished cutting probably more pieces than I need and work on assembling the individual units as I relax at night.  I like how it’s coming along.  Thus far, it measures approximately 45″ x 24″.

Each time I walk past it, I rearrange units.  Upon studying this photo, I see more re-arranging to do.  With the exception of the blue in the lower left corner, all units are unique.  I have another dozen unique units ready to be stitched before beginning repeats.

Although only about half of my print stash (and none of my batiks or solids) is represented, this quilt allows me to see my overall scrap stash.  I’m pleased with the variety.

In this morning’s walk through the garden, I notice the first blushing tomatoes.  Many have gone from totally green to showing some red and several are the size of grapefruit!  Exciting!  Propane is purchased, jars and lids are accessible, ice is made, the canner is washed, the jar lifter is located and my knife is sharpened.  I’m ready to start canning ripe tomatoes!


NOT!!.. but I just can’t stop myself!  I have come to understand how my grandmother, after gifting many, died with an attic stuffed with finished quilts.  They are sooo darned fun to make!

Urban Renewal embryo

Urban Renewal embryo

I’m taking a little break from the sewing machine (making shirts gets boring after a while) to enjoy some hand piecing.  I spent a few days researching which pattern I wanted to make when I came upon this one called ‘Inner City’.  It’s made with half-hexagons of colors in light, medium and dark  values.  It spoke to me in more ways than one.

First off, I like the 3D effect of the pattern.  Secondly, I enjoy English Paper Piecing (the assembly method of these units), but mostly, the pattern speaks to my frugality.  I already have unused cut hexagons left from assembling my ‘Grandmother’s Flower Garden’ quilt top.

I pulled out the box of leftovers and after careful measuring, I decided the size of these hexi’s is perfect when trimmed for the new project. 

I drew new papers (for paper piecing), copied them and cut them from last year’s drug insurance handbook.  Used paper is ideal for this project.

I dug around the leftovers and was able to match 3 values of many fabric colors.  Some units will require I cut new half-hexi’s for one of the color values.  Most of little half-hexi’s will come from my small bits-n-crumbs bin.

I put together the pictured units last night.  Ithe addictive quality of labor intensive English Paper Piecing.  It’s mindless busy-work for my hands as I watch movies or visit with family.  I’m also attracted to expending what is essentially trash to become a useful thing of beauty.

Hmmmm, think I’ll call this quilt ‘Urban Renewal’.

We enjoyed a wonderful, extended weekend with Jacob and (as always) hated to see him leave.  We look forward to his next visit.


I recently purchase two pieces of sale fabric perfect for making long sleeve dress shirts.  Jacob has requested a couple for those days when meetings require him to wear a tie.  This week, I completed the first.

This fabric is awesome.  It’s a cotton/poly blend (for easy care) that is very soft and has a luscious, though subdued, sheen.  It’s very best attribute is the price… $3.00 per yard for 56″ inch wide fabric and it takes less than 2 yards to make a shirt!  BARGAIN!!  The other piece is similar but with black pinstripes.

Honestly, I dislike making long sleeve shirts.  Assembling a well-made shirt is enough of a challenge without adding the extra steps of cuffs and sleeve plackets.

This shirt is constructed with contrasting inner collar stand and inside cuffs.  The pocket is ‘chevroned’ and the outer cuffs, sleeve plackets, back yoke and collar are horizontally striped for a touch of contrast.  The collar is button down style.

Finding buttons was a challenge.  Most ‘white’ buttons are actually cream colored and they absolutely would not work on this shirt.  I searched several online stores and finally found 1/2″ clear pearled buttons with matching 3/16″ ones for the collar.  I bought plenty to add to my HUGE button stash for future shirts.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the shirt and look forward to presenting it to Jacob this weekend.  I know he’ll like it and that’s all that counts.

To fill my recent evenings, I’ve dug out an old quilt in need of repair.  This is the first quilt I completed WAY back in 1980.  It was pieced with everything in my scrapbag at the time, including corduroy, satin, crepe, twill and seersucker (to name a few).  It’s amazing it has held up as well as it has through all the washings it’s seen.

Some of the pieces have begun to shred so I’ve selected scraps from my stash to make the repairs.  In this photo, you may notice two pieces (green and brown) pinned in place awaiting adjustment and stitching.   I’ve cut away the old shredded bits and will applique the new ones in their place.  After a washing, the repairs shouldn’t be noticeable.

Our garden has switched to Phase II.  The snow peas are all harvested and the weather has warmed so no new ones will develop.  Now is when we concentrate on tomatoes… and our plants are loaded with them!  If the weather remains stable and especially if we continue having timely rains, we should be pleased with production.  I’m looking forward to the first few to mature into big green treats.  I’ve been craving fried green tomatoes and intend to make some with the first two candidates.

Other than selecting a roofer for the impending home improvement (which will temporarily halt our quiet solitude), that’s about it on this hill.  We are anxiously awaiting an extended weekend visit from Jacob.


It’s been another quiet but productive week on our hill.Baby tomatoes

I’ve enjoyed walking in the garden each morning and though we’ve   planted very few snow peas, we’ve managed to have several meals of them and I’ve put 2 quarts in the freezer for future cooking.  Since the weather is remaining cool in the evenings, I suspect there may be another quart of two to freeze before the season ends.

The tomato plants are thriving.  They have loved the weekly heavy rains and we’ve fed them with organic, rich soil from our compost pile.  They are happy plants and have begun gifting us with baby tomatoes.  My mouth is already watering thinking of the flavor the ripe beauties will have.  I hope the production is large enough so I might can some but I do plan to purchase more to restock the pantry with home canned tomatoes.  As long as our weekly rains continue, tomatoes should be plentiful in our area.blue seersucker shirt and collar

I’ve also done more sewing this week.  Not surprising, I’ve made another shirt for Jacob.  He likes the green seersucker shirt so much, I decided he needs a blue one.  I rounded the collar a bit and made both sides of the collar stand a matching solid blue.  I’m proud of how it turned out.

The next shirt I plan to make will be a white with red pinstripes long sleeve dress shirt.  I’m not fond of making long sleeves because of the cuffs and sleeve plackets but after making one shirt, I’ll be cured of that dread.  It’s all a matter of one stitch after another…. nothing more.

I wish for everyone a happy and safe Memorial holiday weekend.  We have no special plans but our days will be filled with activities we love.  Have a fun one!



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