Monday, December 7, 2009

Biscotti Smells Soooo Delightful

The wind outside is fright full and freezing but the smells inside are delightful. I'm staying warm and enjoying the aroma of Biscotti. I'm making two kinds. Peanut butter and chocolate almond.
Mixing it up.
Patting the dough into logs for baking.
Finished baking........the first time. MMMMM smells wonderful!
Sliced and ready to bake..........again.
The peanut butter biscotti is all cooled down and dipped into dark chocolate.
The chocolate almond is dipped into white chocolate and drizzled with dark chocolate.

Finished. Ready to sample a few (darlin, I said a few!) and give some to friends for holiday cheer.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fashionista Christmas Stocking

I had a sweet request from my three year old granddaughter over the weekend. "Grandma, would you please make a Christmas stocking for me colored pink?" Of course I would! Looking through my stash of "things" I went. Pink micro wale corduroy with scattered snowflakes and rhinestones in the center. White organza ribbon. Silver jingle bells. White fur. Ribbon with opalescent fringe. A white tassel. Black felt.

This is what I made for her. (Sorry about the wall color. Looks terrible with the stocking. It didn't look that way in real time.) She is a little fashionista, who loves pink and princesses.
It is now in the mail, flying to the sweetest three year old in Quebec.
With Love, From Grandma.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Slip Covering a Worn Chair and Wool Things

Gerry loves it. He sits in this chair everyday in the sitting nook of our kitchen. It has seen a lot of years and hard use. I think it's time for an upgrade, but he loves it, and I'm not one to go out and buy new furniture. So, the easiest thing to do it give us what we both want. He keeps his favorite chair, I get rid of the worn look. Now, I like the worn artful look in many things, but not in this chair. It's worn without the art. I had been on the lookout for some upholstery fabric on the sale table. I finally scored in Sept. when JoAnns was having 50% off the sale table. So for $3.00 per yard, I was able to make a slip cover for the chair.

I like how it turned out. not too loose, fairly snug. The colors and pattern blend well with what I already have, and add to the cozy feel of the room.

Instead of ties, I used buttons and button holes. Ties made with this fabric would be too bulky and not stay tied very tightly. Buttons hold it tightly together. I'm really pleased with the upgrade.

Some other projects I've been working on are from the book With these Hands by Maggie Bonanomi.

A table runner used at Thanksgiving.

An unfinished piece of wool draped over the back of a chair.

I changed the name in the pattern to ours and changed the date, to the date when our house was built.
A small pin cushion, in remembrance, "from me, to thee". I'm really enjoying this book. The style goes with the primitive nature of our home. It is inspiring me to do more work with wool. As I've said before, wool is so flexible and forgiving. I love working with it. These designs are classic, simple, quick and easy to do.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fall Leaves and Abundance

It's one of those days. I wake up.....WOW! It's sunny out! Get everyone where they need to go the pull on the decade old duck boots, grab a rake and head out to the yard. I haven't been out in a while, it's been really rainy. In the northwest it's misty rain a lot of the time. Most of us love it. The mist keeps everything a lush green. Lately, it has been really rainy. Anyway, out I go to rake soggy leaves. Outside, I discover the last of the seasons flowers.They are bright, spots of color, next to the spent foliage of plants (as I like to think) going into retirement before winter.

It feels great to be outside, stretching, doing physical activity. Filling my lungs with fresh air, enjoying the sun, enjoying all that is still growing. The scent of the earth is more muted now than in spring and summer. Energy is returning to the warmth under the blanket of compost.
The greens are still producing in abundance. I share some with the girls as they search for tasty morsels.

The ladies have gone into overtime production. Eleanor Rigby and Hadassa are laying everyday now. They are entertainment running all around the yard poking into everything. They love to scratch and send the freshly raked leaves fluttering into the air and onto the grass again. Making me rake twice as much. They talk and cluck and follow me around the yard.
I am so thankful for the abundance that we have been given. Thankfulness that I want to express as I go day to day doing the mundane and the exciting. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I bought this shirt this summer. Well it wasn't like this when I bought it. It was fairly plain, with two small buttons on the bodice. It was a comfy shirt. I made the mistake of cooking in this shirt without an apron. I splattered grease on the front. Then I forgot to put grease or stain remover before I put it in the laundry basket where it sat for a few days. Of course, the spots didn't come out when I got around throwing it into the wash, and became permanent in the dryer. I was annoyed with myself. I hadn't had the shirt that long, then I ruined it. Well, it would be good to wear for painting or something. Several months ago I looked through Alabama Stitch Book, by Natasha Chanin. It was so inspiring! The beauty and simplicity were amazing. I put her ideas on my future "to do" list. Now, I thought, this would be a great shirt to try out Chanin's techniques on. I thought that if I didn't like the outcome, I wouldn't be out anything.

First I painted some leaves and stems onto the shirt. After the paint dried, I slit the center of each leaf. Then I sewed some light weight green knit to the underside of the shirt as a lining. I used pearled cotton to sew around each leaf and stem. Then I cut the center of each leaf out, leaving the paint at the edges. Then I sewed down the center of each leaf to add a little dimension. I really liked how it turned out. I want to try some projects in Natasha Chanin's book and am excited to see her new book coming out in March 2010.

Now I need to get the house into shape for Thanksgiving.

Sophia is not much help. She is a darling all curled up in the stack of old wooden bowls and leaves.

The house is getting that cozy look, when I bring in large dried bouquets of dried flowers in the fall. This is Sea Lavender, filling a corner of the living room, next to an old pew filled with wool pillows. I'll be doing more of this to prepare for Thanksgiving. Along with turkey, stuffing, relish, rolls, pie................

Friday, August 21, 2009

Too Much Basil?

Did I plant enough? I knew I wanted lots. Two plants last year just didn't make enough. Back in May each plant was so small. Twelve plants, two different kinds. That should be enough to dry some and make pesto, I thought. Maybe I should have gotten one more six pack of plants. Ha!This year the plants are sooooo much bigger. They are growing and growing. Maybe it is do to the chicken contribution. I've cut bunches to dry. Yesterday I harvested more. I made 18 batches of pesto to add to what I made earlier. The basil plants are still healthy and growing. I'm sure I will have much more in the end. Did I mention, there have been basil give aways too. There will be more. Anyone live close by??
Then there are the cucumbers. I haven't made pickles in years. I unearthed my old recipes and "put up" a few jars.
The green beans are still going strong. 32 pints. I made a few pints of dilly beans too. The peaches are yummy! Quarts and quarts of peaches are waiting in the pantry for the time in the winter when we want to bring back the taste of summer. Then I've made peach jam and syrup. Maybe I'm doing more this year because most of the kids are gone. Wow, they took up a lot of energy! There will be food in the pantry when they come visiting.

I've been enjoying "putting food up". Each day I've wanted to do something has been a cooler day, in between our heat waves. So it has been enjoyable. There is still lot to do in the garden. It's satisfying.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Warm Hellos!

I know. It's been a while. I don't really have an excuse........ Well.. the computer did die, we finally gave it complete transplants and revived it. It has been working well for some time now.....but then life has been ...... well...... life. I've missed you! While I've been gone things have been busy! One daughter and one niece have been married. A son-in-law has graduated from nursing school. Now he and my daughter are moving across the country. Another daughter is moving to Panama with her husband to teach. My oldest son, wife and two grandchildren were visiting from Quebec most of the summer. I finally got to play with my youngest grand kids!!! My youngest son just went off to Marine Boot Camp. (I'm proud and sad). Now I have one daughter left at home. She is into distance running. By the time cross country starts next week, she will have run 300 miles this summer. That's just a few high points. Meanwhile....I'll share a little of what has been going on in the gardens. The top picture is our side entrance in late June.
This is a view from the same entrance looking towards my mom's garden. She is soo talented! Her garden always looks fantastic!
One of my favorites in the back is "Love lies bleeding" aka "Kiss my over the garden fence". It's not what you see in every ones garden. The color is so vibrant. It also dries well.

We have gone from mostly shade in the back to almost full sun. This tree in the reason.

We spent a couple of days in spring cutting it down. It was such a lovely tree, shading the house during the summer and keeping it cool. Unfortunately, it had rotted inside and was mostly hollow. So it had to come down before it fell.
Now we are using the wood for evening fires outside.
Matilda was loving having the garden to herself. We thought she needed some company. And I know I need more eggs. So we have a total of five chickens now. They are almost grown. For the longest time they stayed away from the veggies. Then one day I went out and almost all my greens were gone, and damage to other veggies. I didn't want them to spend all their time in the coop, although it is very roomy.
I took lots of sticks from the tree we cut and pushed them along the edges of the beds. They were easy to move when I needed to work in the beds. It actually worked keeping them out. There were enough bugs and other yummy plants for them to eat in other parts of the yard.

Now I'm harvesting broccoli, cabbage, and beans. It's a busy time canning, freezing, pickling, etc. It's something I really enjoy. I'll share more.
Oh, of course we've had some time camping and enjoying my favorite beach, Oceanside too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Springtime Pillows

It's time to change for spring. In springtime I get restless about changing things around. New furniture is out. The easiest and most inexpensive way to change and give a new look is to change pillows. I have been playing around with a few designs in my head for several weeks. I finally put it in cloth. I wanted to do something in wool. We think of wool for winter, for warming us up. So I wanted something with bright color, lots of punch, to give the look of spring, still keeping an organic feel. This is what I've done so far. This one with the white flowers is my favorite.
I cut the base for the pillow fronts, then cut the shapes for the flowers. I sewed the flowers on by hand with pearled cotton floss. I use a random length straight stitch. Some of the petal points lift slightly and help give the flowers a look of movement.
Then I made two tulip pillows. The tulip on the yellow is flat.
The tulip on the tweed is sewn on in pieces. The tips of the tulip lift away from the pillow for a 3d effect.
Each pillow is a different size. I cut the size and shape on a whim. The backs of the pillows are pieced together. One in pieces of one color and one in random colors. They are not the size of pre-made forms. I make a form by making a "bag" out of muslin, and stuff it with stuffing. I like my pillows plump and soft. I like the bold more modern look of these, still keeping an organic, traditional concept. It was fun and very quick to make. I have a few more designs taking shape in my head.