Monday, November 10, 2008

Birthday fun

Joe's birthday was this week and when asked what type of treat he would like he responded firmly with custard pie. I didn't even realize there was such a thing! In my family, the only pies around were apple or pumpkin and much later in life were introduced banana or chocolate cream. So, I did a little digging and found this recipe to try. I wasn't sure about it, but Joe says it was a success, and the proof is that there is no photo because it is all gone.

The pregnancy is going fine except for being very very tired.

As I mentioned before, Joe had refinished a wood burning fireplace insert for our house. He went to install it and we found it won't fit. He put so much work into it, I know he must have been heart broken, but like the great man he is, he sucked it up and we went and bought one on Saturday. It will be here and installed in about 3 weeks. Luckily, it hadn't been too cold yet and we have been using out heating fuel.

That's all for now, folks!

Monday, October 13, 2008

What we've been doing

OK, OK, I know it has been a really long time since I posted anything, but there has been a lot going on and yet not so much at the same time. What has been going on is that we found out we're pregnant...YEAH! As a result of said pregnancy, I have been majorly exhausted and have not had much energy to do anything let alone be crafty.

Here is a picture of how I told Joe we were going to be having a baby. There was a little card which said your present will be arriving in 9 months. He took a few minutes, but after asking, what kind of gift takes 9 months?, it dawned on him and he couldn't stop grinning.
We also harvested our potatoes that had been growing since 4th of July. Here are just a few of them.
Joe removed the damper/flue whatever thingy from the fireplace as we are getting prepared to install the wood stove insert. YEAH for warmth!
And finally, I made an apron for a coworker today to give to his dad. His dad is an ex marine and he wanted stars and stripes and the Marine logo, so here it is. I did not have a pattern, but I am happy with it none the less. Now I an working on finishing the back to a unisex baby sweater. I will post more soon, much sooner than last time. Take care!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How fast is your worm?

I saw my first woolly worm of the season this morning. In the Appalachian Mountains, not only are the little guys used to determine the severity of the Winter, but we race them as well in the annual Woolly Worm Festival in October. Supposedly, the more black there is, the harder the Winter...Doesn't look too bad!

Also, we have Morning Glory vines climbing up the side of our house which are really quite beautiful. Wonders never cease.

My two cents on the proposed financial bailout

It was summed up best by good old Ben Franklin when he said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

This was not meant to be a political blog, but these issues are serious. Bush, and past leaders, have over and over had us give up out liberty when things weren't safe enough for me according to them. I dissent.


So, my town is out of gasoline...for reals. Have you seen this movie? If not, you really really should.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I worked an earlier shift today, and had the house to myself, so I indulged almost all of my senses. Sight & Sound...I got Jane Austen's Persuasion in the mail and put it on. Taste, I made a batch of salsa from our homemade tomatoes and canned it, as well as had a lovely glass of Cabernet as well. Feel, I also got my IKEA 2009 magazine. OK, many may not understand that as feel, but I LOVE the feel of paper...go figure. YEAH! What a spoiled girl I am!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A quilt a day...

WOW! Yesterday, it had been planned that Heather from work would come over to start the t shirt quilt she planned on making as a 2nd anniversary surprise for her husband. The second anniversary is cotton, and he is a huge music man, so very appropriate to use his and her old concert t shirts. Heather had not done any sewing in her adult life and had no idea where to start, but with a little hands on guidance, she took off like gang busters, and finished the whole thing (minus the tieing off of the corners) in 9 hours. We ended up cramming it all into one day as we couldn't find a time for us to meet again before the big day. She wanted to wider than a typical queen size so they wouldn't fight over the covers which I thought was very wise. Below is a shot. I feel privileged to have helped her make her great idea become a reality. Great Job, Heather! In case anyone is interested, we used 2 king size super high thread count for the front and back material. This made things very simple as we could just cut strip after strip from the one sheet knowing we would have enough as long as we kept cutting down the sheet lengthwise and not width wise. She even got the sheets on clearance for $9 each...what a deal!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


On the previous post, I was told the color of the walls could not be seen. We have chair rails in the every room of the main house, so bedroom is being painted Valspar Posh red on top of the rail and ceiling and it will be a combination of red and brown arglye on the bottom once we are all through.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chuga chuga

When I was a little girl, I used to go with my grandpa when he set up his engines at the "gas ups". Today we went to the heritage farm festival and got to see a few old timers doing the same.
Then we picked up some more paint and went home.
I made my first batch of ever of spaghetti sauce to can and the hubby did some more painting in the bedroom.
Last but not least...root beer floats for a treat!


Do you know who you are voting for president? I do, and I know why.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Buttons

Before (well kind of, if you ignore the top left)

Sour Grapes Strikes Again

Does anyone remember the villain sour grapes from Strawberry Shortcake? Well after I got home at midnight tonight I made a batch of grape jelly and I am hoping it won't be sour. I went with the no sugar kind of pectin but added 3/4 cup honey as it was great with the blackberries. I also added 1 cup of apple cider because I had it and I like experimenting. We shall see. It is setting right now and once again I have been lucky enough to already have all of my jars "pop" within a few minutes of removing them from the canner. I guess I must be doing something right!
The whole process from crushing the grapes
to straining them through the cheesecloth
to processing and canning
took just under an hour and a half.
All of our grapes had gone to the birds as I waited too long to pick them thinking they would get sweeter if I waited, but our neighbor had too many concord grapes to eat...lucky us!
Time for Bed! Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Business of Being Born

I just watched a documentary on the birthing process in the US and I am convinced I am going to give birth at home with a midwife whenever I get pregnant. If you want to know why America has the 2nd highest infant mortality rate in the civilized world, check out the documentary done bu Ricki Lake, yep, Ricki Lake, called The Business of Being Born. whoa. is an instant watch on Netflix right now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Melty & Light

Yeah! Bread success. OK, I know how dumb this is going to sound, but I have not been sifting my flour before making my bread. Why you ask? Because I really don't know how to back and am trying to teach myself. Also, none of the recipes said anything about sifting, so I just figured it didn't need to be done. My bread has been good, but fairly dense. I decided to give sifting a try. I don't have a functioning sifter, so I used my colander and a lot patience and success! This Apple Cider Cinnamon loaf came out much lighter and softer. One thing to note though, I have yet to find a recipe on that site that really had enough flavor for me after the bread was made. I will be probably doubling whatever seasoning I make in the next batch of whatever kind of bread. Here was my breakfast.PS This is my owl mug. My hubby and I were very broke when we got married at the courthouse, and, as it was at the courthouse, we did not receive any wedding gifts. So we bought ourselves a coffee mug at the thrift store down the street so we could remember our happy day. Mine is this owl couple and Joe's has so veggies on it.

Weekend Work and Fun

OK, first of all, I don't even know if I can call it a weekend as it is only one day this week and I have to go in 4 hours earlier than normal tomorrow. We are short staffed and I agreed to cover. Despite that, I think we got a bit done. First, work stuff. We did more painting on our 10, yes 10, doors and 6 screen doors and are just about done. We also put a gallon of gray primer on the bedroom walls which will also be a a lovely shade of red, called Valspar Posh Red. Then we made time for some enjoyment. Our first natch of tomatoes was ripe and I made our favorite tomato, basil, garlic and olive oil bread dip to have with some french bread, and a glass of red wine.
photo by Joe
Then I sat down to watch an episode of the mini-series of Middlemarch which was adapted from the George Eliot book. For those not yet fans, George Eliot is actually a woman, Mary Ann Evans, who took on the pen name of George Eliot when it was not yet appropriate for women to be authors. Couldn't stop until I finished the whole thing at 1 am just now...argh for work tomorrow!Finally, isn't this just the most beautiful china? I would love to take tea with George Eliot using this service. Would you like another biscuit?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I did not wake up this morning intending to bake a delicious looking chocolate cookie bar concoction, however the incessant drizzle squashed my plans of going to work out on the property until just now as the sun is coming up. So, I thought to my little self...self, what can you surprise your hubby with when he comes home from work to make him smile? That answer is ALWAYS the same...cookies! Well, I have only 2 cookie sheets and hate balling up the individual cookies as I always make them too big and the edges get scorched or some similar catastrophe. Solution...chocolate chip cookie bars! I substituted Crisco & water for butter as I did not have enough on hand, but I think that should be fine. I have to leave for work about 2 hours before Joe will get home, so this way he will know I was thinking about him. While baking this super easy treat, I was listening to my favorite playlist on project playlist. If you have not heard of this fantastic site...check it out! Now to spend my last hour doing a bit of real work!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Button a lighter note

OK, so the title is goofy, but that's the kind of mood I am in. I forgot to say that I had done some serious clothes shopping at the grand opening of TJMax on Sunday. I had not purchased any clothes for quite some time (over a year except for a pair of shorts and a pair of capris only because I ripped said shorts while on lunch from work up the backside and had to get something to cover my behind asap) and the weekly work rotation was getting shabbier and shabbier. Also, clothing stores in Boone were pretty sub par and overpriced in my opinion. Yeah for TJMax! With that being said, I knew that some of the purchased items could be made a bit more amberish with a tweak here and there. I already had some Dritz cover buttons lying around from when I made the dog bed and some fabric scraps, so the first sweater has been updated. I forgot to take a before picture of the plain and chintzy looking white plastic button. I am sooooooo into covered fabric buttons at the moment. I really like solid colored clothing without a pattern, but the slightest splash of pattern in a button can really jazz the piece up. Also, I am pretty much done with black being the classic color in my wardrobe. I am aiming to coordinate all of my clothes with brown this year. It just feels so much warmer. Know what I mean?

"I see a red door and I want to paint it black..."

I did make a hat and am working on some cable knit gauntlets for my self for this fall, but I will wait to post pics on those until the gauntlets are completed as well. The hubby and I did a little work dragging branches from our downed tree to the burn pile yesterday, but it was a scorcher and we decided to spend the rest of our day doing something more out of the sun. We put the second coat on the doors of red. I love this delicious, rich red that we have chosen. It is Valspar's Cut Ruby and the black is Valspar's Dark Kettle Black. The house itself will be a sort of mossy green with the same black for the shutters and trim but haven't chosen the exact color green yet. Here is a pic for anyone wondering if Bobo likes the new bed as much as Shadowfax or not. This is how he sleeps if you can believe it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Would you call me Cordelia?"

Is there anything as heart warming as knitting with kitty and doggy curled up together and watching Anne of Green Gables? The feeling that I get from Anne of Green Gables is exactly what I hope to create at our home...warmth, comfort, love, innocence and beauty. I hope you feel as content to be alive as I do today.

Keeping Busy

After all of the new stuff I have tried recently, I felt like going back to something I am more comfortable with doing, so I picked up the knitting needles and am stitching away at a basic ski cap for the fall weather to come. I am also working on teaching myself how to embroider and that is coming along well enough, but I am certainly still a novice. Just thought I'd give an update on the crafty stuff. TTFN!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible. ~Welsh Proverb

The ladies, Deidre and Mary Jo and Little Miss Maddie, came over yesterday to do a bit of apple picking and canning. They brought doggies Sierra and Bella to have a play date with Shadowfax. We had a great time...all 7 hours of it! Whew, was I beat. Well, the apples were delicious but small as we didn't know it was an apple tree until somewhat too late to prune. So, quite a lot of work went into making these treats and a lot of experimentation. We made Apple and Orange Marmalade, Maple Apple Jam, and Cinnamon Apple Ice Cream Topping.We also made a couple of Apple Pies to have as treat for all of our hard work. Yummy with vanilla ice cream. We had intended on doing a lot more canning than what we did, but the apples were very much out of reach and very painstaking to work with. I will be heading to the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in a month and will pick up some more apples to make into goodies. Family, do you know what your getting for the holidays?
I have recently discovered Mountmellick Embroidery which I think is the bees knees. It was started in Ireland by Johanna Carter in about 1825. I love the white on white and will eventually get around to trying a bit of this myself. However, I will probably try it on linens when it is meant to be on a sturdier shinier cotton. Eh, so much for what is meant to be. Just gotta make it work for you, right? Lovely little owl.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some doggy is loved

We had been using an old comforter that didn't match at all for a dog bed. So, I decided to try my hand a making one. I added a contrasting piping and buttons to make look a bit more professional. I didn't have a pattern and wanted to make it big enough for the cat and the dog to lay together as they are prone to do. Ta da...We used plastic grocery store bags as the filling and we need more because I made it so big...not a bad way to reuse.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's a pity

Wish I knew more people into sewing. I love these little wrist pincushions and they would be a snap to make!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Spicy Stuff

I made a Jalapeno Cheese Bread yesterday as well as Chicken Cacciatore. The first was a knock out success and the whole loaf was gone by today (I didn't have any, so you know who really liked it) and the latter needs some tweaking. There was not enough sauce and the sauce wasn't very saucy. Next time, I'll throw in a can of tomato sauce as well as the chopped tomatoes. Because the bread was so well received, I made another loaf today.

Besides that, I have cleaned for 6 hours straight today and am getting ready to hop in the shower...whew, am I beat! But at least the house looks great!
Bobo wasn't bothered at al by the cleaning.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

There is an IKEA opening in Charlotte, and I just ordered the 2009 IKEA Catalog...I LOVE CATALOGS! They provide hours of colorful and sometimes thoughtful entertainment. Really good ones I can read over and over again. I actually made space in my car to take my 2008 IKEA Catalog with me across country above many other items which were probably much more practical. I have had an obsession with the printed word since I can remember and catalogs are my dummed down version of it extra light reading. I wish I could convince myself how better it is for the environment to read books online but there is nothing like the feel of bound paper in my hands.YEAH IKEA! We have lived in our house almost a whole year and have practically no furniture...we have a bed, a hand me down couch (very large), a TV, a very old wobbly table and 2 chairs. We decided not to buy things unless they were what we really wanted and were going to last, so all has been free (except the bed). We haven't had a lot of money, so thus the empty house. IKEA will change all of this..yippee! I love color and am getting inspired just thinking about it!

Monday, August 18, 2008

woo hoo

i survived my first game

First Quilt EVER!

So, I worked my tail off the past two days making a baby quilt for a girl at work's shower on Tuesday. I have never ever made a quilt of any sort, but I just got the urge and wanted to try it. I was totally messy and did a lot of measuring by eye. Also, I did not follow the traditional one decorative side idea and instead put the squares on both sides. I threw together a few ideas of machine quilting and hand tieing. There are A LOT of little mess ups, but it is soft a cuddly, and I think is just fine for my very first quilt done in 2 DAYS!

The squares are nursery rhymes which were intended to be made into a soft book ,but I decided to break the rules. They are on both sides, and I just love it!

Now, I am off to do another new thing...referees my first soccer game. EEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHH! I am terrified!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lacy Gift

Finally, the gift arrived... I am able to post about my sister and her husband's gift. I made them a set of brown pillow cases with a hand knitted lace inset from the book Weekend Knitting. They are king size as who doesn't just love big pillows? This was my first time knitting lace and the hand sewing it onto the pillow cases was intimidating at first, but not that bad after I got started.
This is the leaf pattern in the book. So first you knit to the proper length, then T-pin it out and starch and iron.

Next, launder your fabric, and if using purchased cases, cut about an inch above the hem and sew hems on each side using a basic stitch. Then hand sew your pieces together. The lace will shrink a bit when laundered, however it will return to it's shape if ironed flat. Viola!

Crumbly Goodness

This morning I used the rest of the blackberries that the hubby picked for us. I made one batch of jam, blackberry sorbet and blackberry muffins. You can see the muffins kind of fell apart (next time I'll use the pan liners), but boy oh boy were they tasty! So soft and scrumptious! The sorbet is still freezing; I'll let you know how it turns out...I can't wait!

Also, I will be starting a baby quilt this weekend for a girl on my team who is due soon. This is a real first for me; I have never made a quilt, but I am super excited. It will be a squared quilt using this fabric I found that has nursery rhymes on it. Photos to come! TTFN!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cute and Crispy

Our late planted potatoes are coming up like gang busters. Joe has been hilling them faithfully and we are excited to have some tasty spuds soon.
I also was able to harvest some tasty baby carrots for lunch today. Yeah for mother nature.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bone Tired

That is how I felt last night after completing the Soccer Clinic the last three days as well as going to work, getting Naph's and Anthony's gift sent off & going to my boss's picnic, but it is all over and I passed. I only got an 89% and, of course, I wouldn't really be happy with anything less than a 100%, but there is nothing I can do about that now. I am not going to complain too much, but my teacher seemed more concerned with letting us know how much he disliked the parents of the players he refereed than teaching us the rules. Enough said.

So today is MY DAY. I have decided to spend the first part of it reading The Friday Night Knitting Club. I get to accomplish the whole two bird and think about knitting = )

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The hubby and I decided to try our hands at a puzzle this weekend, and for $7 it only took us a few hours to put together this 550 piece beauty. Not sure if that is a very good return for our money. We will see if we can pick some up at thrift stores or something. However, we did have a lot of fun and it was relaxing. We put it together last night and this morning on the front porch and it was so peaceful to get away from the TV. We are thinking about shellacking it and placing it on the wall, but not positive yet.

Monday, August 4, 2008

No (or low) Sugar Jam

I was asked about how to make no-sugar jam from my friend, Willow, so am posting what I have learned so far. First, you can make no-sugar jam, but make sure you are using a naturally sweet fruit like strawberries for the best results or you can use Splenda if you don't mid adding sugar substitutes. Both Ball and Sure-Jell make special pectin which are to be used for no or low sugar recipes, so it is important to get that kind and not regular pectin. I have tried both and thing the Ball brand has a better jell set to it. I have now made no sugar and low sugar and, although I don't have a sweet tooth, I prefer the low sugar. What we used in the low sugar recipe was 3/4 cup of honey instead of granular sugar for a whole batch of jam (about 4 pint jars). This made it just about the perfect amount of sweetness, but you can cut it back as much as you like. I just recently made the honey version and am thinking about switching to make that my standard as it has this amazing consistency and honey after taste which was delicious.

If anyone is really interested in preserving your fruits and veggies, I have found the Ball Blue Book, the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, and the Canning USA website to be very helpful.

Good Luck!